Ways to Listen

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Something I love supporting clients with are the different ways we listen. Asking the listener what they want can be helpful and knowing how you love to be listened to can be helpful. Here are four ways I see people preferring to be heard more frequently:

Some people prefer someone mirrors when they listen. When we mirror what we heard the speaker knows they’ve been heard or can provide correction or elaborate. This can be super helpful when someone feels they weren’t always heard or understood.

Others love when someone relates to what they said with their own stories. These folks may feel so seen when someone brings in their own experiences to relate to what the sharer stated. While they may feel loved and seen they may also feel like there’s less judgment if you’ve been through something similar or at least have some of the shared feelings.

Some people desire the person who is listening to nod along or give other body signal cues that they’re together on this conversation. Some folks may feel so understood with little cues like nodding along, leaning in or extending our body cues to indicate we’re here in this conversation together.

Others love quiet and no cross talk either verbally or from body cues. If folks have been judged or fear what might be said about their sharing they may like you to not say or do anything other than witness what you shared. They may also not want to rely on what you make of what they shared and benefit from being heard without feedback.

There are so many ways of witnessing one another’s experiences. I think one of the helpful things to notice is just how you want to be heard. I sometimes ask people how they want to be heard in this conversation because it can change for some people in the moment depending on who they’re speaking to, what they need, or how they feel. However you want to be heard is okay and I hope it’s welcomed somewhere.

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